Moulting and breeding cost birds a lot of energy. So it would make sense for the animals to do these two things at separate times. Yet slaty brush finches (Atlapetes schistaceus) in the Colombian rainforest moult and breed at one and the same time.
Life can be exhausting for the slaty brush finch: in this tropical bird species, breeding and moulting overlap. Not surprisingly, this double burden takes a toll on the bird's fitness.
© MPI for Ornithology
Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Radolfzell and Princeton University therefore decided to examine whether this double burden presented evolutionary disadvantages to the tropical birds. What they found is that the wing feathers of birds that breed and moult at the same time are lighter and shorter than in birds that go through these phases consecutively. Also, their flight speed during escape flights is slower on average. This possible loss of evolutionary fitness is likely to be offset by as yet unknown positive effects.Because feathers become continually worn down, birds regularly renew their plumage. When moulting, the flying ability of some animals can either be reduced or totally impaired, and they are less protected from the cold. Moulting also uses up a lot of energy. Birds therefore avoid other energy-intensive activities when they are moulting. So moulting and breeding usually take place separately, as they would otherwise both be competing for valuable energy reserves.
PLoS One, 9 May 2013
Prof. Dr. Michaela Hau | Max-Planck-Institute
Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery
20.01.2017 | GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung GmbH
Seeking structure with metagenome sequences
20.01.2017 | DOE/Joint Genome Institute
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
20.01.2017 | Awards Funding
20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.01.2017 | Life Sciences